On to the Next Chapter of Life

Anthony Smith, CEOWe’re recognizing another milestone at URE: After almost 36 years of service, URE’s operations manager Brian Lewis is retiring.

In his 26 years as URE operations manager, Brian has witnessed the incredible transformation of our service territory, adjusted to new technology, and endured a national pandemic.

Anthony Smith CEO, “Brian’s knowledge, experience, and strong industry relationships, have all contributed to URE being a great member-oriented company. Yet, it’s Brian’s personality and easy-going attitude that make it a great place to work. I’ll miss working with Brian and wish him all the best as he transitions to retirement.”

Brian juggled a wide variety of responsibilities, not just scheduling the daily work for line crews. Most notably, he was responsible for dispatching crews during major outages. He also supervised and managed testing for apprentices, our fleet of trucks, and maintenance. Brian oversaw safeguard testing of all rubber goods, including hot sticks, and disposal of the oil-filled units (transformers, reclosers, and capacitors). He managed the construction coordinator position and was a voting member for the Ohio Utilities Protection Service (Ohio 811).

Brian also provided support for other departments, including supplying personnel to help with safety demos; assisting warehouse personnel with snow removal, floor sweeping, and loading/unloading semis; replacing parking lot lights and making repairs around the building for HR; and working with accounting to develop and manage the operations annual budget, and ensuring each week that timesheets were done correctly and on time. He was also active in community outreach, including installing poles for the Union County Fairgrounds, Richwood independent Fair, and Past Time Park in Plain City.

The most significant project in his career, Brian says, has been completing a service territory system upgrade from 7200 volts to 14,400 volts. “We were over 90% complete. Unfortunately, I can’t claim 100% complete, as COVID stopped us from getting it done with supply chain problem with material delivery.”

Looking back on his career, Brian shares his most important lessons learned, or “Brian’s word to the wise,” which include:

  • No one (and nothing) is perfect.
  • Always choose your battles.
  • Don’t sweat the little stuff.
  • Do the best you can with what you have to work with.
  • You are not going to make everyone happy.
  • Stress is a killer, and half the stress is from things you cannot control. Wake up and realize it!

In addition, he emphasizes to all the need to prepare for retirement. “Have a plan, especially when you’re young,” he says. “It’s amazing the amount of equity that can be saved, if invested properly.”

Also, he advises everyone to treat people equally, and to take care of your family and your employees.

Brian plans to devote his first 2 years of retirement on landscaping around his house. “It’s been neglected,” he said. “We’ve remodeled most of the inside of our house, but the outside is way overdue!”

Overall, in retirement, Brian is looking forward to enjoying life, planning some travel, and, most importantly, to not stop living.

When asked about the most memorable thing he’s done that he would like people to know, when all is said and done, Brian shared one of his favorite Bible verses, saying he is saved by the grace of God: “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” he quoted.

“I am, by far, not perfect,” he said. “But I thank God for His grace because we don’t deserve it.”

May 5 is Brian’s official retirement date. Until then, he will share his years of knowledge and experience in mentoring Marty Nicol, the new operations manager.